15 years of PNEC—Part 2, 2002—2006

Oil IT Journal continues its celebration of 15 years of PNEC’s Data Integration Conferences. We track the rise of Linux and XML-based standards and tools, the combined technical and marketing success of Innerlogix’ data quality environment, the advent of ‘Portal’ based data management, Yukos’ contrarian view point, Wal-Mart’s data environment and the arrival of Google Earth.

We continue our 15 year review of Phil Crouse’s PNEC Data Integration conference with the 2002 edition. This was the year of new XML-based languages, with new MLs from Innerlogix, PDVSA and three from PPDM! Nagib Abusalbi described Schlumberger’s ‘noble goal’ as ‘providing one official answer to a query, along with known risk’ but as he admitted, ‘We are not there yet.’ Users should be able to view data and fix problems, the more data is used, the more it gets fixed. Dag Heggelund introduced Innerlogix’ XML-based Extensible Data Connectivity Language (XDCL) for ‘no-code’ development of data drivers. Application service provision (ASP) had lost some of its shine in the wake of the dot-com bust. Many companies were reluctant to see their data go off-site although BP in Aberdeen and PDVSA were counter-examples. Shell reported on a data management software gap analysis performed by Schlumberger. Interestingly, PGS’ PetroBank was selected. Shell’s Cora Poché made a call for a seismic data clean up project—along the lines of the MMS’ Gulf of Mexico well data cleanup initiative. Shell was a keen user of hosted software, moving its data to Landmark’s ‘Grand Basin’ e-business unit. Chris Legg described BP Houston’s search for a replacement to Amoco’s DataVision and the ex-BP/Arco EXSCI. In the end BP selected Petrosys’ dbMap ‘because it ran on both PC and Unix and for map quality.’


Will Morse (Anadarko) saw the move from Unix to Linux as an unstoppable trend, ‘be there or be square!’ But he warned that ‘the costs of Linux migration may not be as low as you think’. Anadarko was running Landmark and Paradigm apps on Linux. POSC announced that as part of its Practical Well Log Standards (PWLS) work, it had been granted the right to use and migrate the Schlumberger classification including curve mnemonics.


This was the year of Innerlogix which scored a marketing home run as ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil and Shell all presented enthusiastically, what we named the ‘star of the show,’ its Datalogix data clean-up tool. Trudy Curtis (PPDM) and Alan Doniger (POSC—now Energistics) announced an agreement on schema design principles—especially on units of measure—and on ‘profileable’ schemas, noting too the return of the Petroleum Industry Data Dictionary. Charles Fried (BP) opined that, ‘we are still in the stone age regarding data bases.’ Problems exist with data in Excel spreadsheets and shared drives are ‘all filling up.’ Fried observed, ‘all these disparate data types are a pain in the butt to manage and there is no money for this.’ Vitaly Kransnov revealed that all software used by Russian super major Yukos was developed in-house because commercial software failed to meet Yukos’ needs. Commercial tools are ‘complicated and hard to use,’ offer poor connectivity to the corporate database and no national language support. Yukos ‘adapts its software to its corporate knowledge, not vice versa.’


Pat Ryan described Calgary-based Nexen’s data management framework which supported its 280 ‘best of breed’ G&G and engineering applications. Nexen’s Data Application Separation layer (DASL) leveraged Tibco middleware to link well data objects with OpenWorks, GeoFrame and an in-house developed PPDM repository. The model was extended to pipeline and facilities. DASL captures user ‘context’ at login. Mike Underwood updated the meeting on ChevronTexaco’s data quality effort. Chevron’s workflow had been improved and automated. Data cleanup is performed with Innerlogix tools. Madelyn Bell (ExxonMobil) noted a shift in focus at PNEC from data models and middleware to the ‘value and completeness of data.’ Exxon is making it easier to retrieve, refresh and reuse old studies. Bell queried why E&P companies are not more proactive in mandating data quality standards for vendors. Pat Ryan (Nexen) agreed that terminology is crucial. Document management is hard to link with geoscience systems—but the need is now to access G&G and corporate documents and contracts. Paul Haines (Kerr McGee) suggested information management was ‘more about people and process than about the data’. Companies understand the importance of metadata, but ‘vendors don’t supply it!’ A plea echoed from the floor, particularly for geodetic information where a ‘standard data model/exchange format’ is needed. In designing BHP Billiton’s Petroleum Enterprise Portal, Katya Casey took inspiration from eBay and Amazon. The Portal embeds Schlumberger’s Decision Point, SAP Business Warehouse, Microsoft Exchange, Documentum and other tools. ‘Everything I need today is right in front of me.’


The 2006 PNEC high point was Wall-Mart CIO Nancy Stewart’s talk on how the retail behemoth uses a Teradata database to track activity around the globe in real time. Kerr McGee (now Anadarko) was working on unstructured data management, leveraging AJAX technologies to enhance its users’ experience. Shell continued to enhance (and measure) data quality. More metrics underpin Burlington Resources’ (now ConocoPhillips) application portfolio rationalization. Clay Harter (OpenSpirit) made a compelling case for the use of Google Earth (GE) in oil and gas. OpenSpirit had already jumped on the Google Earth bandwagon, offering the popular GIS front end as a data browser for OpenSpirit-enabled data sources. GE Enterprise rolls in shape files and raster images through Fusion which blends the GE database and data on in-house servers. OpenSpirit (OS) had leveraged its integration framework to tie into GE by dynamically creating kml/kmz from OS sources that can be consumed by GE. GE ‘fills the need for a light-weight easy to use 3D browser.’ More on PNEC from www.oilit.com/links/1106_39.

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